In this essay I will be discussing; the four main concepts of form and language, audience, representation and institution.
In this particular unit, the theme was horror films; we first studied and watched the original film Psycho by Alfred Hitchcock, this meant we had to study certain scenes such as the famous ‘shower scene’ we analyzed the scene, by using our senses, for example we turned away from the screen to only use our hearing, this way we could analyze the sound without getting distracted by the pictures, we counted how many different sounds we could hear. While we prepared for creating our posters we learnt about the different types of horror Genre, we learnt the difference between horror and thriller, horror being based solely on fiction and a thriller being based on real life possibilities.
Next, we were then told to make a treatment, for our own new versions of the film Psycho, we did this by planning out the beginning, middle and end of our films, as well as writing up character profiles, for the villain and hero, we also wrote up where the film is set, my film is called PSYCHOlogy a play on words, linking the school subject, with the idea of a Psychopathic killer.
We created a treatment for our new versions of the film, we did this by planning out the beginning, middle and end of our films, as well as writing up character profiles, for the villain and hero, in additon we wrote up where the film is set.
My film is set in America, in the beginning it is set in a high school, but the students are made to stay in an abandoned apparently haunted mental asylum, for a Psychology trip, soon after, people start dying, peculiar deaths, which later are found out to be murders by the characters, however the survivors can’t leave, they’ve been locked in the asylum, towards the end, people start to think it is the security guard who is the killer, as we see a silhouette of a man, in fact it is actually a girl who is a killer dressed up as a man …
Furthermore I designed a marketing campaign, describing how we’d advertise the film, this included making posters, despite it being a horror film, we knew we had to make sure the images for the poster weren’t to gory, as if the poster was produced, we couldn’t control who its seen by, ie; a younger audience.
The different types of media in my marketing campaign were; posters, billboards, magazines, internet forums etc. Finally, we created a poster for the new film; my film is called PSYCHOlogy a play on words, linking the school subject, with the idea of a Psychopathic killer. In addition there is the tag line “This is one subject you’ll wish you never took”
In my view, the poster was well made; it included all the musts, such as: institutional information, a tagline, a title, an image, and lastly quotes from reviewers.
Our poster had to include all the key conventions, my poster was layed out so the title was at the top, that way the audience would see the name of the film first, and then read on, this would engrave the name ‘PSYCHOlogy’ into their head, so they wouldn’t forget the name, when for example looking up cinema times. I chose to have the font of the title to look like it had been scraped, on the brick wall of a mental asylum, with nails, for other text I wanted the text to be gruesome, so chose ‘chiller’ from Microsoft publisher, this made the text look like blood, when in a deep red.
The image(s) used are there to attract the audience, but also make the audience think about the film, and ask questions, as this would make them want to see the film more, to answer the questions, for example in the center of my poster, there is the very famous actor Jack Nicholson, he is right in the middle, looking directly at the audience, looking very sinister, the background image is of an abandoned mental asylum hallway, so it makes the audience think about what will happen in the film, encouraging them to watch it.
Like I mentioned, the film is set in a mental asylum, and therefore this creates a scary atmosphere, such places are often associated with psychopathic killers and suicides, a key convention in any film poster, is the institutional information, as always mine is at the bottom of the poster, in a small font, I coloured it a bloody red, but its is in ‘Arial’ font and not in chiller, so it is readable. The producers and distributors are all my friends; however the actors in the information are all real, Jack Nicolson, Shia Le Bouf, Halle Berry all star.
While due to censorship, my poster can’t be too gory, the red and black colour scheme is a main component when signifying the genre of the film, Horror is often associated with red and black, red being blood, and black meaning darkness.
In my view my poster is successful because; it uses all the key conventions needed for a good film poster, for example, comparing it with the original psycho poster, they both have taglines, and questioning images, Norman bates and Jack Nicholson for example both look very evil, there are also images of the co-stars a man and a woman.
Despite this, my film is still given an ’18’ rating, sexual and violent images would not be allowed on my poster, because I wouldn’t be able to control who views these posters, it could be 5 year old child viewing them for example. Alfred Hitchcock had a similar problem, in the 1960’s it was not acceptable for a woman to be naked on film, and a lot of people protested over the sexual nature of the shower scene, were apparently the actresses’ breasts were visible.
The target audience for my film, would have to be 18+, as the film contains sexual and violent scenes, not suitable for younger viewers, their gender doesn’t matter, because the film doesn’t have typical boyish are girlish aspects, as with most horror films. Their class wouldn’t really matter, however the film does have working class ‘normal’ people in it, so perhaps working class people would be able to relate more with the characters?
Hitchcock was very clever with his promotional campaign; he made absolutely sure that plots could not be leaked, by doing almost all the promotional work he, even the trailers. He forbid the stars from giving away plots, and also told them too lie to reporters like he did (Give out fake plots) in the trailer, Hitchcock deliberately teases the audience, almost giving away plot summaries before stopping himself. The most controversial move was Hitchcock’s “no late admission” policy for the film, which was unusual for the time. It was not entirely original as Clouzot had done the same in France for Les Diaboliques. Hitchcock thought that if people entered the theater late and never saw the star actress Janet Leigh, they would feel cheated.
I have tried to use similar ideas, by not giving out plot summaries, and teasing the audience, and forbidding the actors from talking about the film, the theme music used in my version, is the same base as the original, however it has been re-mastered and modernised.
I have devised a promotional campaign for my film, I first plan to leak a pop up window on a popular movie website, this would want people to visit the original Psycho site, my plan is to deliver cryptic messages in trailers, where film fans have to piece the parts of the puzzle to make the work psychology, this would wet the appetite for the film, people would only know what I want them to know, the 1st advert would be on a website, as the internet is now the biggest source of data in the world, then I would air the cryptic messages film trailers, flashing images, and posters that look as if they’ve been partly destroyed, leaving important images out, I would then release the final full poster, a few months before the film is released.
I have used certain stars in my film because in my view they would fit the roles perfectly, Jack Nicholson for example already has experience playing evil characters such as the Joker in; Batman’, and his part in the horror film ‘The Shining’ he has the ability to play very animated yet evil characters, of course while in the film Nicholson doesn’t play the real killer, I know he’d do a very good job of tricking the audience.
I chose Shia le Bouf to co star because I needed a young and promising actor, who could play the role of a high school teenager, I also wanted to bring in some comedy into the film, something Le Bouf does well in films such as; ‘Even Stevens’ and ‘Transformers’ similarly Hayden Panettiere was chosen to play the high school girl, because of her good looks, and her experience in playing the typical blonde cheerleader in ‘Heroes’
My film stays true to the horror genre; it is not a thriller, because it is based on super natural events, there is of course Norman Bates now dead, but in the mind of his daughter, far more psychotic and evil, taking over minds, whilst still attached to his own mothers. I have made my film, in a way, that while it is surreal and at times super natural, there are still believable aspects.
No, my film isn’t a complete remake of the original psycho, but it is very much a sequel, but the audience isn’t expected to realize until the end of the film, as I mentioned, the ghost of Norman bates has a big part to play, he is the father of ‘Sam’ played by Panettiere, and even though he is now dead like his own mother, he lives in the mind of his daughter, I decided to bring back the cross dressing aspect of psycho, the audience is lead to believe Norman Bates is in the mind of the security guard played by Nicholoson, but it is actually Panettiere who is the killer, dressing up as a man, (Norman Bates, her father) similar to the original psycho.
To conclude; I believe I have produced a successful film poster, I have chosen images that are suitable for a younger audience, yet still scary, and questionable, I also believe I have thought out a very good marketing campaign, in this unit I have learned the difference between Horrors and Thrillers, Horrors being based on fiction and the super natural, while Thrillers being based on real life possibilities, I have also learnt about how to make a film more successful, wetting the audience appetite by hiding plots a prime example, in addition I’ve learnt how to use photo editing software like Photoshop, to help enhance my posters, and make them as realistic as possible.
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